Root of All Evil

2 oz Bourbon
34 oz Grand Marnier
12 oz Fernet Branca
12 oz Maraschino Liqueur
2 ds Orange bitters, Regans' orange bitters
1 twst Orange peel (as garnish)
Stir, strain, straight up, cocktail glass, garnish
From other users
  • Very good. A bit sweet, so I added the 1/4 oz of Lemon. Also might be better with rye. — ☆☆☆☆☆
  • I made it with Cointreau and used just slightly less of each of the liqueurs - truly delicious! — ☆☆☆☆☆
  • Widow Jane Bourbon — ☆☆☆☆☆
  • Fernet Branca
  • Nice Manhattan variant. Cut back on Grand Marnier to 1/2 oz. — ☆☆☆☆☆
  • Consider reducing Maraschino or Grand Marnier by 0.25 — ☆☆☆☆
  • Try with rye Try a little less Fernet — ☆☆☆
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I love this drink! This is

I love this drink! This is the drink that made me fall in love with Fernet. The first time I made it, I halved the fernet because it was just too strong of a flavor for me. In fact it was polarizing. I hated it, but wanted to love it. Now, Fernet is one of my favorite amaros to mix. Fernet will grow on you if you give it a chance. Really great drink!

mahastew's picture

I love Fernet and have had a

I love Fernet and have had a fair amount of experience with it, and I still feel halving it for this drink is probably a good idea. Really good as it is, though.

This really is great, but I

This really is great, but I thought the non-bourbon ingredients were all a bit too much. I prefer 1/2 oz Cointreau, 3/8 oz Fernet, 1/4 oz Maraschino. You still hit all the notes, but it's a little less sweet and the Fernet stays behaved. Also prefer a higher proof bourbon here, such as Knob, but in truth that's almost always what I prefer in Manhattan variants like this.

I second that, higher proof

I second that, higher proof bourbon improves this. I do 1/2 oz dry Orange Curaçao, 1/2 oz Fernet, 1/4 oz Maraschino. A generous piece of orange peel is also really good, I usually cut a long spiral out with a channel knife over the drink.

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An interesting, complex drink with a lot going on taste-wise. I carefully reviewed the comments made about the drink before I made it. Based on my experiences with each of the ingredients, I understood why the comments were made and agreed with them. I wondered only about Fernet Branca; in some drinks it can overpower the other ingredients and a smaller amount needs to be used, but with other cocktails the Fernet Branca seems right at home, and no change in its amount needs to be made. In this case I started off with Elijah Craig bourbon (97 proof) My other choices were Jim Beam Black label (87 proof) and Woodford Reserve (90 proof) I would not want to go over 95 proof, as I think something like Booker's at 127 proof would simply overwhelm the other ingredients--and maybe the drinker! Then, as was suggested by several, I used 1/2 oz Grand Marnier, 1/4 oz Fernet Branca, 1/4 oz Maraschino liqueur, 2 ds Regans' orangs bitters, and a good-sized orangs swath to exprss the oils.

My results:  The final cocktail, with its adjustments, was very tasty and balanced. There were two changes that I made--which were for the better. First, I added just a few additional drops of Maraschino Liqueur, so that the total amount (from the first and second amounts) equaled a "fat" 1/4 oz. The need for the second change surprised me: I had to add a few more drops of Fernet Branca, which smoothed out both the Grand Marnier and the Maraschino Liqueur, and provided a better balance of overall tastes among the ingredients.In short, between what I originally added of Fernet Branca and what I added later, was the equivalent of a "fat" 1/4 oz.

My only other caveat is that Grand Marnier and Cointreau are not the same, and the equivalent amount may result in a different taste. This is because Grand Marnier has a Cognac base, whereas Cointreau does not.

In summary:  Based on the comments made by others and my experience with the recipe for the "Root of All Evil," I suggest the following for its recipe:

2 oz of a high-proof (about 90 proof) Bourbon, 1/2 oz Grand Marnier (if using Cointreau, adjust to taste), a "fat" 1/4 oz Fernet Branca (adjust to taste), a "fat" 1/4 oz Maraschino liqueuer (adjust to taste), 2 ds Regans' orange bitters, and a wide orange swatch (express the oil and drop in cocktail) I rate this cocktail between 4.0 and 4.5.